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Virtual Darshan, e-Sankalpa: Bengalis gear up for muted Durga Puja in Bengaluru

Last Updated : 13 October 2020, 20:18 IST
Last Updated : 13 October 2020, 20:18 IST
Last Updated : 13 October 2020, 20:18 IST
Last Updated : 13 October 2020, 20:18 IST

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The city’s Bengali associations are using technology to celebrate Durga Puja to ensure the fervour would not lead to spike in Covid-19 cases.

The usually high-spirited celebrations of the goddess slaying the demon will be muted this year in view of the invisible virus infecting and killing many. Bengali associations across the city are hoping to spread the message of hope and joy despite the celebrating being virtual.

Jakkur’s Harmony Cultural Welfare Association has been holding the ‘Harmony Mahotsav’, an open-to-all amalgamation of Durga Puja and other seasonal festivals, for the past five years. The association’s secretary Mayukh told DH that they are gearing up for a ‘virtual puja’. Only members will be allowed at the venue.

“With a member base of more than 800 families, we will slot 50 families each in the morning and evening batch, spread across six days, to ensure social-distancing. We will be live-streaming the entire event through our social media channels for people who cannot join us in person,” Mayukh said.

Though cultural events at the venue are cancelled, artists will perform from home which will be beamed live online. The association has taken up various safety measures like regular fumigation of the venue, installing thermal scanners and sanitizing fruits and vegetables used as offerings to Durga Devi.

The association has banned distribution of saris and sweets as 'prasad' and will only allow those with green status on the Aarogya Setu app inside the venue.

“All five idols – Durga and her four children - will be sporting face masks and holding sanitiser in their hands to create awareness on the seriousness of the infection,” Mayukh said. “They’ll also be placed on different platforms indicating social-distancing.”

The event raises funds to support orphanages and old age homes. For the past few months, HCWA has been organising grocery distribution camps for stranded migrant labourers seen gathering at Sampigehalli police station seeking permission to leave the state, Mayukh said.

Rudra Shankar Roy, patron of several Bengali organisations in the city, said the 120 puja pandals this year will be a scale-down from the numbers usually seen before.

“Keeping in mind the SOP’s, organisers are looking for innovative ways such as E-Sankalpa (offering to Devi Durga with the individual name and Ghotra) and E-Pushpanjali (flower prayers),” he said.

The biggest and largest Durga Puja organised by the Bangalore Durga Puja Committee at the Manpho Convention Centre will be the only puja open for a limited number of public visits on the Maha Ashtami day (Saturday, October 23).

“From 50,000 attending the BDPC Durga Puja last year, numbers will be restricted to 5,000 this year,” Roy said.

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Published 13 October 2020, 19:57 IST

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